Shifting Mindsets

mindsetYou will try to build your agile teams with a non-agile mindset—guaranteed.

Achieving true enterprise agility absolutely requires a change in behavior, this is necessary but not sufficient. Changing behaviors isn’t nearly enough.

Real change requires embracing a new mental model, a different way to conceive of your work, a different view of your role in the enterprise.

Real change requires a new mindset.

Simply working to change behaviors is insufficient. Changing only behaviors is insufficient because previous mental models still dominate the work. This is why we observe large organizations doing agile transformation initiatives for the 4th, 5th, 6th, or 7th time, bringing in yet another group of agile coaches to teach yet again how to do stand-up meetings, plan iteratively, and write story cards. It will never be enough.

Most transformations struggle because they fail to address the underlying factors that drive behaviors—the fundamental mindsets of their staff.

One essential mindset change is from an “inward mindset” to an “outward mindset.” Inward mindset people focus on themselves. They focus on getting others to advance their own personal objectives. They focus on what they do, measure it, and declare success. Inward mindset people declare a software project a success without ever asking the users if they have really met their needs. Inward mindset people declare their software projects a success without ever confirming the business received a positive ROI.

An agile mindset is outward focused.

The agile mindset helps others be successful. Agile mindsets demand that projects track and measure user satisfaction and business ROI. The agile mindset can’t even conceive of the idea of measuring success without making others successful.

Inward mindsets are not necessarily hostile or malicious, they are simply how the team has always worked. Fortunately, it is possible to change. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen automatically with most agile coaching.

We work with a training partner who specializes in how to specifically foster the change from inward to outward mindset, and it can happen faster than you would think. With the proper awareness and tools, you can put your agile transformation on a much better path to success—begin with mindset.

By Tom (Thomas) Meloche –

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